As commercial vehicle workshops gear up for a busy period of winter servicing, they should promote preventative maintenance for customers, ZF Aftermarket recommends. Flagging potential issues during a routine service can save customers from any inconvenience further down the line resulting from unexpected downtime, and protect a vehicle and its driver against the risks posed by harsh driving conditions.
When servicing the suspension or axle components of a commercial vehicle it is important to identify early signs of excess play, which indicates wear. Pay careful attention to components such as the ball joints on the tie rods, or the rubber-to-metal components in the suspension system. If there is any excess movement or degradation visible on these, it is always best to attend to them at the time, rather than ignore them and cause a customer to have to return, or visit a competitor, for a repair at a later date. When wear to these components appears to be relatively minor, it can be tempting to leave them for a later job, but this can be risky for a commercial vehicle that is going to spend months operating in harsh, wintry conditions.
Suspension systems are designed to absorb impact and provide a smooth ride. Sudden jarring against potholes can worsen probably existing wear and tear on ball joints, shocks, and struts, potentially causing severe damage.
Listen for strange noises
Abnormal handling and unusual sounds when a commercial vehicle is in operation, are often the biggest indicators of faults in chassis components but ones which are rarely identified by drivers. It is important to ask customers if they have experienced any strange noises from the vehicle, or if it is pulling to one side. This indicates a potential issue and if left unresolved, can significantly impact stopping distances, vehicle handling, and the effectiveness of anti-lock braking systems.
Another unusual noise to ask customers about is a rattling sound in the chassis. This occurs when dirt or salt water enter components from snow-unstable and rough road surfaces. If the wheel-guiding ball joints are affected the handling and control of a vehicle will become unstable. Depending on how advanced the joint damage is, the affected connection point in the suspension can even break. Educating customers to look out for early signs of impact on the ball joints, can help to prevent the risk of an expensive recovery later down the line. For commercial vehicle operators, expensive repair jobs result in downtime and loss of income.
ZF Aftermarket: Spare parts in OE quality
Preventative maintenance such as this is beneficial for customers, and strengthens the relationship between commercial vehicle workshops and customers. Furthermore, technicians who choose replacement components from leading automotive suppliers can provide even greater peace of mind to customers. ZF Aftermarket contributes to road traffic safety with a wide range of OE quality products: brakes from TRW, shock absorbers from Sachs and chassis and steering components from Lemförder, perfectly equip workshops to meet all service and repair needs.
For access to ZF’s range of high quality parts, please go to www.aftermarket.zf.com